American Paintings Highlight Doyle's October 4 Americana Auction

John Frederick Kensett (1816-1872), Seascape with Figures (Seascape), 1861, Signed, dated and titled, Oil on canvas, 6 3/8 x 10 inches.  Est.  $80,000-130,000
John Frederick Kensett (1816-1872), Seascape with Figures (Seascape), 1861, Signed, dated and titled, Oil on canvas, 6 3/8 x 10 inches. Est. $80,000-130,000
  • George Inness (1825-1894), Delaware River, circa 1860-63, signed, Oil on canvas, 8 1/4 x 10 inches.  Est.  $8,000-12,000

    George Inness (1825-1894), Delaware River, circa 1860-63, signed, Oil on canvas, 8 1/4 x 10 inches. Est. $8,000-12,000


  • Edmund Darch Lewis (1835-1910), View of Cuba, 1860, Signed and dated, Oil on canvas, 30 x 43 7/8 inches.  Est.  $25,000-35,000

    Edmund Darch Lewis (1835-1910), View of Cuba, 1860, Signed and dated, Oil on canvas, 30 x 43 7/8 inches. Est. $25,000-35,000


On Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 10am, Doyle will hold an auction of American Paintings, Furniture & Decorative Arts. The sale showcases 18th and 19th century American furniture and decorative arts, including silver, ceramics, mirrors, folk art, quilts and samplers, in addition to Chinese Export porcelain and rugs. Special sections of the sale are devoted to fine 19th century paintings and Audubon, Currier & Ives and topographical prints.

The sale offers a fascinating selection of paintings by American artists working abroad.  A Philadelphia native, Edmund Darch Lewis was of the most prolific and commercially successful American landscape painters of the late 19th century. His views of Pennsylvania, New York and New England were avidly collected by Philadelphia art patrons, and by the early 1880s he had amassed a fortune. The large, lush landscapes that he painted between 1860 and 1876 reflect the influence of his famous contemporaries Frederic Edwin Church and Albert Bierstadt. View of Cuba, painted in 1860, is surely one of his most beautiful tropical landscapes (est. $25,000-35,000).

The Pre-Raphaelite painter Henry Roderick Newman studied in Paris but spent much of his life in Egypt, where he visited for several months each year. He depicted archaeological sites in exquisitely rendered watercolors, such as Among the Ruins of Philae (est. $15,000-25,000), which displays his mastery of that challenging medium.

In 1844, Henry Inman visited William Wordsworth at his home, Rydal Mount, in the English Lake District, in order to paint his portrait for a patron. One day, while strolling on the grounds, the poet suggested that he paint the view depicted in Rydal Water (est. $1,500-2,500). An important late work, it was exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1845 and was included in the memorial exhibition of his work held the following year at the American Art-Union, where it was accompanied by verses by Wordsworth.

Harry Mills Walcott was among the American painters who studied in France in the 1890s. Winner of the Havemeyer Traveling Scholarship at the National Academy of Design, he entered the Académie Julian, exhibiting works at the Paris Salons. His enchanting painting The Gossips (est. $6,000-8,000), depicting a group of young women, may have been painted prior to his return to America in 1901.

The canals and palazzi of Venice attracted many American painters. Arrival by Gondola by Albion Harris Bicknell (est. $800-1,200), and Venice at Night by John Joseph Enneking (est. $3,000-5,000) demonstrate the mysterious allure of the city.

American landscapes are also represented in the auction. One of America’s most important landscape painters, John F. Kensett (1816-1872) was viewed as an heir to Thomas Cole in his leadership of the Hudson River tradition. The sale offers a gemlike 1861 view of figures gazing out to sea near a promontory. With its poetic juxtaposition of rugged headland and shimmering water, this is a signature example of his mature style (est. $80,000-130,000).

A lovely view of the Delaware River, in which resting cattle and details of the landscape are picked out by the rays of a rising sun, was painted by George Inness (1825-1894) around 1860-63, after his return from trips to France and Italy. Interestingly, this small landscape was acquired by John F. Kensett, one of the leading lights of the Hudson River School, and it remained in his family until 1913 (est. $8,000-12,000).

The sale is also rich in American still lifes. Although the 18th-century Royal Academy in London considered still life painting the most trivial of themes for artists to pursue, in 19th-century America, still life, first championed by the prolific Peale family, exploded in popularity. Offerings in the upcoming sale feature exquisite examples encompassing a broad range of movements: from the quietly lush composition of Mary Jane Peale (est. $8,000-12,000) with an apple just past its prime (a poignant reminder of the fleeting nature of life) to a 20th century riff on a 19th century theme by the surrealist John Wilde (est. $5,000-7,000). Also noteworthy are examples by William Mason Brown, George Forster, De Scott Evan, George Cochran Lambdin, John William Hill, John Casilear and William Michael Harnett.

The silver section of the auction offers a broad range of examples from the colonial era through the Belle Epoque. 

Many pieces of 17th century American silver originated in church collections, such as a two-handled cup by prominent Boston silversmith John Coney (1655-1722), who is regarded as the greatest American silversmith of his generation. The Puritan spirit in American churches meant that religious wares tended to mirror domestic pieces rather than the grandly ornate pieces used by the established religions in Europe.  Property from the Estate of a New York Lady, the cup was one of a pair commissioned by the First Church in Salem, Massachusetts in 1687 (est. $10,000-15,000).

Gorham’s Martelé silver adhered to the Arts and Crafts movement’s principle of hand craftsmanship. The name Martelé is translated from the French word for hammered. Exhibited in 1897, Martelé silver was introduced commercially in 1900 and production ceased in 1912. One of only 180 Martelé loving cups made, this example was presented in 1907 to John D. Slayback on behalf of the Washington Square Methodist Episcopal Sunday School (est. $5,000-7,000).

Furniture highlights include an elegant early 19th century Federal chest from a New York City Private Collector. The chest is a masterful example of the use of contrasting flame birch panels and figured mahogany banding. The use of book matched veneers within a composition of rectangles on a serpentine form creates movement and containment in perfect balance. The drop panel may indicate a Portsmouth, New Hampshire origin (est. $5,000-8,000).

Clocks in the sale offer an examples with a refined clock case featuring elliptical inlays and a circular panel in the base typical of fine New Jersey clocks of the early 19th century. The most prominent makers include Aaron Brokaw, Joachim Hill and John Scudder, to whom this example is attributed (est. $4,000-6,000).

The public is invited to the exhibition on view from September 30 through October 2. Doyle is located at 175 East 87th Street in New York. Sale information and the auction catalogue may be viewed online at


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